FINALE LIGURE, half an hour from Savona, is a full-on Italian resort, in summer crowded with Italian families who pack the outdoor restaurants, seafront fairground and open-air cinema, or take an extended passeggiata along the promenade and through the old alleys. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable place for all that, with a long sandy beach that stretches the entire length of the town and a busy, buzzy vibe that lasts long into the evening.
The main part of town is Finalmarina, with a promenade lined with palms, and a small quarter of narrow shopping streets set back from the seafront, focused on the arcaded Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II in the middle. At the eastern end of town, Finalpia is a small district on the other side of the River Sciusa, with the twelfth-century church of Santa Maria di Pia (rebuilt in florid, early eighteenth-century style) and the adjacent sixteenth-century cloistered abbey at its centre; while Finalborgo, perhaps the most attractive part of Finale, is a medieval walled quarter 2km inland, overlooked by bare rock-faces that are a favourite with free climbers who gather at Bar Centrale in Finalborgo’s Piazza Garibaldi at weekends. Finalborgo has quite a chi-chi air these days, and is a nice place to eat and shop – there are free buses from Finalpia (opposite the Hotel Boncardo) and the bottom of Via Brunenghi (near the station) every forty minutes in summer. Once there you can just wander its old streets, or take a look at the array of prehistoric remains and other artefacts unearthed locally at the Museo Archeologico di Finale in the cloisters of the convent of Santa Caterina.